While climate change poses common risks across the United States, some scientists say Native American tribes in the southern Great Plains face unique challenges.

Higher temperatures, extreme weather events and water resource constraints could severely affect the ability of Native Americans in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas to obtain food, water and shelter, as well as hamper their ability to preserve ancient cultural activities, according to the National Climate Assessment.

In the southern Great Plains by the end of the century, temperatures are projected to increase between 3.6 and 5.1 degrees, and if greenhouse emissions are not cut, the region might endure up to 60 more days above 100 degrees than it does now, according to the report.

“Given the ancient symbiotic relationship between environment and culture that shapes tribal identities and life-way practices, climate-induced changes to the seasons, landscapes and ecosystems pose an existential threat to tribal cultural traditions and community resilience,” authors of the climate report said.

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 220 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

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